For senior RV owners and folks who want to skip lugging around a hard-shell kayak, an inflatable kayak is a perfect solution. Inflatable kayaks are lightweight, easy to pack/unpack, and great for camping alongside lakes and other less turbulent waters. In this guide, we share tips on how to choose the best inflatable kayak for seniors and our Top 5 picks.
Included in our Top 5 are sit-on-top, sit-in, and tandem models in case you want to bring a friend, relative, significant other, or your beloved pooch along for the ride. Additionally, the kayaks in our guide are both senior & beginner-friendly.
One safety tip we want to share before looking at an overview of our top picks is that inflatable kayaks are not suitable for waves or rapids. Open ocean, tidal rivers, rocky rivers, shallow rivers, and ocean bays are best kept for hard-shell kayaks to ensure your safety. All inflatable kayaks are prone to damage on rocky waters. The key takeaway is to view an inflatable kayak as a recreational kayak rather than a hard-shell touring kayak or whitewater kayak.
Below, we share an overview of our Top 5 picks with the most important specs to consider before jumping to the reviews of each model.
Top 5 Inflatable Kayaks for Seniors
|#1) Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak|
|#2) Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable 1-Person Kayak|
|#3) Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak|
|#4) Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable 2-Person Kayak|
|#5) Sevylor K1 Sit-On-Top QuikPak Inflatable Kayak|
Reviews of the Best Inflatable Kayaks for Seniors
Now that you’ve had the chance to consider the key specs of each model, let’s take a closer look at each kayak in the reviews below. Under each review, we share the highlights and drawbacks along with the pros & cons according to our testing. By the end of our reviews, you’ll have a clear idea of which kayak suits you the best and which company you prefer.
Let’s get started below with our favorite 1-person inflatable kayak by Advanced Elements.
#1) Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements is a California-based company that designs and manufactures some of the most advanced inflatable kayaks on the market. Compared to the other brands in our guide, Advanced Elements kayaks are sturdier, track better, and are able to handle more turbulent waters. Unlike simple inflatable models, the AdvancedFrame model features internal aluminum ribs in the bow and stern, yet the kayak still manages to be lightweight and foldable.
When you receive the package, everything is ready to go. Simply unfold the kayak, inflate it, and attach the seat. The level of simplicity is what makes this model a true delight to own. In addition to the aluminum ribs, you’ll also find that AdvancedFrame kayaks feature multiple layers of material for added puncture resistance. In total, there are three layers with the main air chamber encased by both the outer kayak cover and an additional tube cover.
Several final highlights are the longer warranty period compared to the other models in our guide, a hard-shell feel from an inflatable kayak, the high-support comfy padded seat, an onboard storage compartment for extended trips, and an included duffel bag. All in all, this is the top 1-person kayak in our guide, though, it does cost significantly more than the other 1-person models at the time of this writing.
- The best trackability of the 1-person kayaks in our guide
- Very comfortable for short to extended trips
- Excellent stability for an inflatable kayak
- Fully inflates in just 10 to 15 minutes with a hand pump
- No tipping problems
- Ample storage space for a single person
- The closest you’ll get to a hard-shell ride from an inflatable model
- The heaviest 1-person boat in our guide
- Insufficient room for medium and large dog breeds
- Not the easiest kayak to pack and dry
- Not self-bailing
#2) Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable 1-Person Kayak
Now, let’s make a significant jump down the price ladder with the Intex Challenger model. Unlike the AdvancedFrame model above, this kayak is not a hybrid. It’s a simple inflatable kayak that’s good for use on calm lakes, streams, or rivers that are deep enough to avoid contact with rocks. Having said that, this is an excellent lightweight kayak that’s mighty affordable and will surely help you form some great memories.
The Challenger features an inflatable I-beam floor, two air chambers, and Boston valves for quick inflation/deflation. The seat is both removable and adjustable. There’s a removable skeg in the stern for better tracking, though, don’t expect the same trackability as the AdvancedFrame model above offers.
Additional highlights that may make you want to choose this model over the AdvancedFrame kayak are the Challenger is lighter, easier to pack, better for beginners, and a lot more affordable for folks who only need an occasional kayak. A couple of drawbacks are the short warranty period, seat design, and lower weight capacity.
- The best bang for your buck of the models in this guide
- Sturdier than you might think
- The easiest boat to inflate/deflate of the models in our guide
- Perfect for cruising on calm lakes and enjoying the sights
- Very beginner-friendly
- Easily fits into the trunk of any car and in most backseats
- The onboard cargo net is a nice touch to keep your possessions in place
- Limited legroom
- Less back support than the AdvancedFrame kayak
- Paddle quality could be better
- Short 90-day warranty
#3) Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Now for our favorite inflatable tandem kayak. It only makes sense that if Advanced Elements makes the best inflatable 1-person kayak that the company’s tandem kayak would top our list of 2-person kayaks. Overall, you get mostly the same features offered by the 1-person AE1012 model with an added seat and higher weight capacity to accommodate two people.
Additionally, this kayak is great for couples or singles who want to ride with their dogs. The wonderful part about Advanced Elements materials is they stand up to dog nails just fine – in case you were worried. As for the kayak, it features the same style of adjustable high-support seats as the 1-person model, and the internal aluminum ribs are there for a hard-shell-kayak-like ride.
One feature that really makes this kayak cool is its convertible nature. Included conversion decks allow you to effortlessly switch between an open deck, tandem deck, and even a solo closed deck by shifting one of the seats to the middle. Lastly, there are plenty of storage spaces ranging from a mesh pocket to a dedicated rear cargo hatch.
- The most versatile kayak in our guide
- Roomy enough to take your dog(s) along for the ride
- Better tracking than Intex and Sevylor
- Ample storage space for camping gear and other accessories
- Inflates in just minutes
- Very compact for its size when folded (fits in a backseat and any trunk)
- High-quality materials that stand up to tougher conditions
- The priciest option in our guide
- Heavier than the other four models
- No pump or paddles included
- You may prefer it with a backbone which requires an additional purchase (Click Here to view the current price at Amazon)
#4) Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable 2-Person Kayak
Next up is the second & final tandem kayak in our guide. Similar to Advanced Elements kayaks, the Explorer is essentially a tandem version of the Intex’s 1-person Challenger model. However, unlike the Advanced Elements Convertible model, the K2 model is not convertible. The greatest advantage of this kayak is the price.
For senior couples and single seniors who want some extra legroom in a kayak, the price of this inflatable kayak is unbeatable. Ideal candidates for this kayak are RV owners who camp near lakes, seniors who want a kayak that’s easy to use/lift, and anyone who lives near lakes or mild rivers with good kayaking conditions.
As far as features, there’s not a whole lot going on in the Explorer model that’s different from the Challenger model. Instead of a single seat and paddle, you get two seats and two paddles with this model. Also, one of the advantages of choosing Intex is the included hand pump, which makes this kayak ready to go right out of the box without any necessary additional purchases.
- Excellent value for the money
- Versatile enough to use as a 1-person or 2-person kayak
- Comes with everything you need including 2 paddles, a hand pump, and a removable skeg
- Lightweight, easy to pack, and easily fits in backseats and trunks
- Inflates quickly with the help of the Boston valves
- Plenty of room for 2 adults
- Good stability for an inflatable kayak
- Less trackability than the Advanced Elements tandem model
- Does not maneuver well in windy conditions
- Requires more energy to get moving than other models in our guide
- Paddle length may seem awkward to you
#5) Sevylor K1 Sit-On-Top QuikPak Inflatable Kayak
The final option is for seniors who desire a very lightweight sit-on-top model that offers exceptional weight capacity. Of the five models in our guide, Sevylor’s K1 is the lightest, making it the easiest for seniors to lift when traveling. Additionally, it makes a great addition to any RV because of its compact size and minimal weight.
The base package comes with everything you need including a hand pump, a single paddle, and our favorite accessory, the backpack. What’s really nice about this model is the backpack turns into the seat. Also, the fact that the entire package is light enough for younger seniors to carry on their backs is a clear advantage.
Sevylor uses heavy-duty 21-gauge PVC to build its inflatable kayaks with a tough tarpaulin bottom to resist punctures. Also, because the kayak sports multiple chambers, it’s good to know that the boat will stay partially inflated if a single chamber suffers a puncture. Lastly, the boat features ample legroom since it is a sit-on-top model, plus you’ll find a cup holder and bungee storage area for comfortable lounging on a lake.
- Double-lock valves for quick & easy inflation/deflation
- The multi-position footrest allows users of all heights to find their sweet spot
- A more comfortable and supportive seat than Intex offers
- The lightest model of the five kayaks in our guide
- The backpack carry case is very convenient
- Reliable stability for folks over 6′ and 200 lbs
- The included air pump works well, and the inflation process is smooth
- Low-quality paddle included
- Expect more movement in the bow when paddling than an Advanced Elements inflatable kayak
- The skeg is not removable
- You may find it difficult to get moving once in the water
When selecting the best inflatable kayak for seniors, it’s important to first consider how much you plan to use the kayak. Secondly, it’s important to consider where you plan to use it. For seniors who desire a kayak to use often, we prefer Advanced Elements kayaks because they deliver the closest thing to a hard-shell kayak experience on the water. Additionally, they have the option to upgrade with Advanced Elements backbones for enhanced rigidity and performance.
For folks who only need an occasional kayak for calm lakes and mild rivers without rocks, Intex is the first place to look. Intex inflatable kayaks are mighty affordable and get the job done in calm environments. We prefer Intex kayaks for camping near lakes and to store in an RV for whenever a kayak may come in handy. Finally, be sure to consider the weight of each kayak in our chart before making your final decision to ensure it’s okay for you.